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tv   BOOK TV  CSPAN  March 27, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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>> we are grateful for your continuing in the tradition. the great dean of the law school, long ago, author vanderbilt once said reform is not for the short-winded. that is a tradition we take on here. hopefully not tonight. grateful for you being here as we launch the discussion of my new book; "the fight to vote" this book represents the brennan center for justice. we are partly a communication hub, think tank and group devoted not to the specifics of justice brennan and his juris
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prudence but taking his ethos that the law above all else must respect dignity and the constitution must be understood as a charter for each generation. we are able to take this charge. we are 20 years now at the law school. we are in the fight on voting rights, money in politics, the drive to end mass incarceration and so many things. this book reflects that. i am asked a lot why do this book now? why do this book now? this is without question one of the most challenging moments for our democracy in many years. we know that this is a crazy, topsy turvy election with anger
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at the system manifesting itself in all kinds of ways in many directions. this election we will see 16 states with now voting laws designed to make it harder to vote for the first time since the jim crow era in effect in a high turn out presidential election. this will be the first presidential election since the united states supreme court gutted the civil rights act. it an election where the consequences of citizen's united and other misguided decisions by the supreme court are beginning to be felt more and more especially at the level below the presidency. in the last election, voter turn out dropped to the lowest level in seven decades. there are pressures on our democracy of a kind we have not
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seen for a long time. there are pressures on the question of whose voice matters and whether the right to vote is a meaningful theme we have not seen in a long time. the question i wanted to ask in writing this book was was it always this way? how does this moment compare to the past? what is a usable and learnable history we can draw from? here is what i found: today's controversy and fights are intense and controversial and consequential. but they are not new. this fight to vote has been at the heart of american life from the beginning. it is a debate that has been at the center of american politics, including elections, from the beginning. the fight to vote didn't start this year or last year.
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it didn't start 50 years ago at selma. it has been going on for 240 years from the beginning. it has been raw, rowdy and partisan at every step of the way. it has always been about more -- it has always been about more than just the formal rules of who can cast the ballot. it is entangled with the role of wealth, money, class, race and the many ways politicians and their friends and allies have figured out to rig the rules from the beginning to benefit their cause or side. what was that beginning? how does that story start? the book starts with thomas jefferson in philadelphia in the heat of the revolution writing the declaration of independence and the preamble.
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we know this is a time of interaction. he wrote memorable that government was only legitimate if it rested on the consent of the governed. he wrote that while being attended to by a slave. a 14-year-old slave boy, bob hemming, sally hemming's brother. the contradictions were present at the very moment. at that time, the colonies and america was nothing but a democracy. the colonist as they rebelled against britain but the rules were fixed to vote you had to be a white man who owned property. a certain amount of property in the middle ages. but the revolution began to break that certainty or the idea you needed the consent of the government began to take on a life of its own and during the
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revolution even there was a debate about this. benjamin franklin led a working man's revolt in pennsylvania. one of the only times there was an actual in the street pitch fork yielding mob in the american revolution demanding the right to vote for all men regardless of whether they owned property. franklin said today a man owns a jackass worth $50 and he is entitled to vote but before the next election the jackass dies and the man can't vote. who is the right of the suffrage? the man or the jackass? he may not have said jackass but that was the quote. throughout every step of the history, while some americans demanded their voice at the table and the right to expand democracy, others fought to hold them back then and now.
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john adams was a gast at the idea of expanding the right to vote to men without property. he was urged to do this in massachusetts and he said it a terrible idea. women will demand to vote and lads will think they are right and everyman will demand an equal voice. john adams said there will be no end of it. and he was right. that is a pretty good prediction of what happened over the next two centuries. the next break, i will talk longer now my watch is no longer on the podium. the first breakthroughs were on the role of wealth. the same debates we are having over citizens united now. the rule to break the idea you needed to be a property owner in order to vote. it was a move to enfranchise
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white men without property and affect the working class. it was led not by citizen movements but by canny, suave political insiders like martin van buren in new york. one state senator said i bet i can get van buren to give a straight answer. he said mr. van buren does the sun rise in the east? and he said i am not awake that early so i cannot say. he won the right to vote without owning property. john roanoke fought against adding to the voting roles and his model was he said i am an ari aris aristocrat and i hate liberty
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but want equality. the united states was the most profound democracy and there were mass political parties with really high voter turnout. democraci democracies were a fad and people understood more people were left out. the next breakthrough was during and after the civil war. a war when hundreds of thousands of african-americans served the union army and in fact when lincoln gave his inaugural address, his great second inaugural, a large part of the audience were african-americans in uniform. lincoln was opposed to voting rights for african-americans. but in his first stab at reconstruction, he dissen franchised former slaves but he began to change. two days after the surrender of
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the south lincoln gave his first speech, his big speech about what we wanted to have happen during reconstruction from the second floor window of the white house and he said, you know, i have been criticized on this voting issue. people have criticized me and my plans for not enfranchising the former slaves and i now agree. i think people who served in the uniform or educated should be able to vote and he gave indication he would go further. one member of the audience understood this. john wilkes booth and he gasped and said that means citizen. that is the last speech we will give. he tried to get the man standing next to him to shoot lincoln on the spot and when he said no he said i will do it.
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we know the tragedy of what happened next. the republican party, devoted to voting rights as it has been more than the democrats, pushed through the 15th amendment to give voting rights to the former slaves. it was a flowering of democracy in the south. turnout rates among african-american men in the south approached 90%. hundreds of african-americans were in congress, legislature, and even as governor. but a violent response from the kkk ended that. we know there was a brutal crackdown on voting in the south. it didn't happen right away but by the end of the 19th century it had erased the gains and almost entirely disenfranchisement of african-americans. the cities of the north were
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crowded immigrants from ireland, italy and france. catholics. they succeeded in cracking down in votings by the new immigrants work class. john adams great grandson warned that universal suffrage only means a european and especially celtic proliitarian on the atlantic coast and african on the shares of the gulf and a chinese one in california. they passed a variety of rules that suppressed turnout among the working class in the north. this is important to understand not because you have walt whitman writing articles
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denouncing this but because it reminds us things can move backwards despite progress. you have a new factor as well. the massive flood of campaign money prom that guilded age. from the 1% of that gilled age. democracy was reeling and moving backwards. what happened as the 20th century began? there was a period of reform and revitalization which we call the progressive area. it focused more than people realized on the question of the vote. they passed two constitutional amendments dealing with voting. the first was one of their version of campaign finance reform. the 17th amendment to give the vote to citizens for the united states senate because they felt the state legislatures were
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corrupt and in the pockets of the bidders at the time. teddy roosevelt and others led these movements. but the other, which we often overlook as a significant response, is the part of their idea that you would deal with the now power of money with the vote was the 19th amendment. it is very easy as we think about women getting the right to vote. you look at textbooks. it is passed over. but it was every bit as fiercely fought, creative, and hard as later gains were. it is a story i learned in researching this. it is amazing to know so many of us don't know this story. seneca falls happened in 1848 and that was when women first said we should have the right to note but not a lot happened after that. it wasn't until around 1910-1912
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that young women, many of them gr graduate students who had been in england, came back and said we are going to try to pass a constitutional amendment. the day before his presidential inaugural, woodrow wilson got off the train in washington, d.c., and nobody was there to greet him. the princeton glee club was there to greet him and that was about it. "the new york times" made up a statement saying what they lacked in numbers and wilson said where are all the people? they were told they were down on pennsylvania avenue. 5,000 women were marching for women's suffrage in a remarkable parade, many in proposerous
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costumes. leading that parade, on a white horse, dressed in the costume of a greek godess and carry a banning was a dazzling woman who was a recent graduate of nyu school of law. a labor lawyer and agitator who has a professorship named after her until recently. holland was on the horse, and 5,000 women behind her, and lining pennsylvania avenue a 100,000 men, many of them drunk. the men started throwing things, broke through the lines, they assaulted the woman, a hundred woman were fought to the hospital, they fought their way to the end. it was a huge deal as you can imagine. the police chieff of washington,
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d.c. had to resign. it dominated the coverage of the inaugural and public opinion swung in support of suffrage. it was just like selma five years later. but it took hunger strikes, pickets and advocating, before wilson, whose political base was the south, till wilson backed woman's suffrage and the 19th amendment happened. al ally -- the leaders of the movement we don't know them. the 20th century was a time of continued democratic expansion. the great instance when the courts finally got involved and setup the standard you needed one person one vote all culminating with the great
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triumphs of the civil rights movement and the voting rights act. you know that story. you have seen it in movies and the recent movie "selma". the story is more complex than you might imagine. dr. martin luther king proclaims in selma we will bring a voting bill on the streets in 1965 and it was the pressure of those activist willing to risk their lives and safety that forced the national government to act. but it was this elaborate dance between two leaders; king and johnson. i write about it at length in the book. they would meet repeatedly. johnson would say look, i am for voting rights but not yet. not right now. we have to pass the great
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society. king would push. johnson would get worked up and tell king how important it was the pass voting rights and king would try to talk about the political benefits that would come if they would. johnson was drafting the voting rights act and never told king. king was preparing to match at selma and never told johnson. you know the violence televised at the bridge and the revoltion that followed johnson standing up and telling congress we shall overcome and the change in the south then. voting rights soared immediately after that and the end of the poll tax and the votes going to 18 year olds and new laws dealing with campaign finance. it seemed like the basic rules of american democracy were set
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for a long time. then the last 15 years have seen a change. the last 15 years have seen new pressures as i said in the beginning of a slide back to the point where i feel strongly we are at a potential tipping point where things could go wrong. what happened? as i said in some areas it has been progressive and some areas conservatives. there is a policy to restrict voting and the rules of democracy in a way we have nat seen in a long time. they take their cue from something said by a man named paul wire. he was among other things he founded the heritage foundation and forded the american lenl slateive exchange council. and in a key moment in 1980 with
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ronald reagan speaking to the evangelical as the modern conservative coalition formed he said look, i want to be clear, we don't want everybody to be able to vote. we do worse when everybody is able to vote. that has become the mantra, spoken or unspoken, that has guided way too much of recent activity. in 2011, a screening about voter fraud and as a factual matter to kind of voter impersonation is showing that you are more likey to be killed by lightning that commit voter fraud in the united states. 24 new laws were passed making it harder to vote for the first time since the jim crow era. i am for voter id but i am not
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for requiring id voters don't have. the law in texas, which is being challenged and declared illegal by several courts, in texas you cannot use your university of texas id as a government id but you can use your concealed carry gun permit. what coinisedence. and we have seen laws amplified when the supreme court enters. i was surprised to learn the court stayed out of the whole fight over democracy. that is why we had so many constitutional amendments. during john robert and the time of justice antonin scalia this court was activist on case after case and you know one of the
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most significant was shelby county which gutted the hearts of the voting rights act and was reflected, he didn't write it, but reflected the spirit that justice scalia, articulated during the argument when he said the voting rights was merely quote a racial entitlement. you can hear the gasp on the tapes we have from that recording. the texas law was rushed through in two hours after the shelby decisions. other courts as well. on top of this, the supreme court created a situation where money, as it did in the late 1800s, speaks so loudly it risks the power of the vote. we have had jerry mandering and both parties do it.
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citizen unit d, a small handful of doners have transformed campaign finance. in the last election, the top 100 donors gave more than the other 4.75 million small donors combine. that is the level of con pp krshc concentration of political money we have not seen since the days of jp morgan. why am i finding myself surprisingly energized by the moment? there is more agitation and concern and wide understanding of the ways in which the system is broken than we have had in a long time. the book talks about this. in this election, we have candidates from all over the place addressing these issues whether it is bernie sanders talking about campaign finance reform being a central issue to donald trump with all things he
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is doing saying he is the only candidate on the republican side who can not be bought by contributions to gladly endorsing the person who wrote all of the voter suppression laws out of kansas. hillary clinton putting forward the most detailed and in many ways plans for voting reform and campaign finance reform than any major candidate has put forward in years. this is on the electorates' mind and therefore on the presidential candidate' mind. the biggest change that can make a difference is moving away from a ramshackle voter registration system. if we had universal and automatic registration it would be transformative and add tens of million do is the rolls, cost
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less, and curb the potential for fraud. it is happening all over. oregon and california passed versions of this. the new jersey legislature passed it although governor christie vetoed it. it may be on the ballot in arizona, they are considering it in illinois. it is going to happen and it will make a huge difference in american democracy. on money and politics, there is a wide bipartisan and cross partisan revolt against citizen united. we know the new supreme court opening will lead to a national debate and we see a focus on the constitutional doctrine but new versions of public reform could make a difference. we have the best system in the country right now is here in new york city to match small contributions. seattle, just enacted, an even more creative system giving
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vouchers to voters to give to candidates. there is a ferment across the country. and even on jerry mandering and redistricting you are seeing change. the supreme court in a little noticed opinion injune -- in june left the non-partisan districts in california. focus in ohio just passed one. there is a debate and fight over this. some of the core issues of american democracy are being debated in a way we have not seen in years. the utah state senate voted to repeal have 17th amendment ending the right to vote for centers. this is going to be a fight to go on and on. john adams is right; there is no
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end of it. this is a chapter we are all writing next and that is what the book is about. thank you for your attention. [applause] >> okay. >> one of the things that is a thrill for me is to have to chance to work with some of the country's most effective advocates and deeply knowledgeable experts on these issues of democracy every day at the brennan center. but the challenge is we have to keep up. so i am thrilled myrna perez is joining the conversation. >> thank you so much, michael. one of the prevailing themes of the book is that at every point in your nation's history there
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has been a push and pull over the right to vote. the book acknowledges, and those of us in the recent studies of history notes, for about 50 years there was an understood agreement the right to vote for all should be available. what i want to know is what was going on then? can we re-create it for the future? >> it as a great question and really true even though as i said there has been a concerted push, and concerted political drive to restrict voting rights and knock down the campaign financing rights, for a long time these were not partisan issues. the last time the voting rights act was brought up by congress it was signed into law by george bush. john mccain who the brennan
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center represented in court was one of the great champions and the last presidential candidate to take public financing. the partisan line that seems so firm and fixed in this very polarized moment have actually not been. why was it there was this sort of broad consensus? among the reasons it seemed like it was the right thing to do but it didn't seem to effect one side or another in the partisan calculations. in fact, in the south part of the consequences of the voting rights act was there were many more people of color listed, and a lot of the white voters moved to the republican party and it strengthened the republican party as well. one of the lessons i draw is parties are going to look at for their own self-interest and that can be in the country's interest or not. enlightened self interest is something we ought to seek.
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people have taken this stuff for granted. when the florida recount happened and we learned 537 votes could make a difference in one state that was a wake up that turn out can matter more than before. when you think of elections. when i worked in the clinton white house the idea of swing voters wasn't wrong. but in 2000, parties both realized the turnout mattered and you could win in a tight evenly matched environment by suppressing the other side's vote. it may be this is an artifact of political shifts over the long term. the country is changing so much and it isn't at all unusual that when there is change any group in effect that has something to lose does everything it can to hold on.
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that was true in 1800 when the federalist tried to change the voting rights because they were worried the jeffersonians were going to be voting. when you look at the states with the rise of votes in people of color they are there states likely to have the new voting laws. so we can expect to see these fights continuing. >> one thing i found so interesting was the recognition that from the beginning of time politicians have been changing the rules of the game so some people can vote and some people can't. but as a voting lawer, i know the 15th amendment and civil rights law doesn't also protect. given the entanglement of money, politics and race, how are politics supposed to separate the two? >> as you know in some of these
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cases the defense being offered is we are not discriminakridisc against african-americans but just democrats so that is okay. i think one of the things that was so interesting, as i mentioned, you know at the beginning they didn't think very much about who could vote. but if you go back and look at the constitutional convention and the notes james madison took, which were secret and not supposed to be made public for a long time, madison and his colleagues were very concerned about precisely this kind of ma manipulation. there is a provision called the election clause that says while the state set the voting rules congress and the federal government explicitly have the power to override those rules
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and that is the only place in the constitution where the federal government is given that power. madison was worried that state legislatures would rig the voting rules to favor their own side. he said you cannot even imagine what the results will be. and the things they were thinking about were things like what we would later call jerry mandering or changing the district lines or passing laws to make it harder for your opponent to vote. they would move the polling place from one county to another in those days and nobody could find it. one thing we need to do is recover the notion that the constitution addresses precisely these kinds of shenanigans of bipartisans trying to rig the rules for their own side has been present throughout american history and there are strong legal and prosecutional bases for regulating that even beyond
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the vote rights act which was focused necessarily on one particular thing which was racial discrimination in states with a history of discrimination. >> there is a lot of really colorful heroes and villains in the book but the courts are a bit player in this book. i think most people who know the history of the juris prudence among the court would agree. my question is why? why has the court at best allowed to progress to happen and at worst are responsible for the roll back? does that shed light on how we should view the upcoming supreme court vacancy? >> you are right. for those of us who grew up thinking the courts and supreme court would be there as a tribune of liberty and protection of the democracy it is startling to understand that
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rarely has happened. from the beginning the courts washed their hands of trying to advance the goal of democracy. there was a case of luther bord n coming from one of the forgotten but colorful battles of voting rights where rhode island was the last state with the property requirement. there was an election and they pulled out the canyons and tried to fire on the state army but it didn't work. it was like a comic opera. it went to the supreme court and they said which one is the real governor and the supreme court washed their hand saying this is a political question and we are not getting into this.
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it was funny there but terrifying later when the supreme court similarly refused to help the african-american voters of the south who sued repeatedly and had cases up to the supreme court in the 1890s and 1900s and the supreme court in the case of oliver windle holmes wrote this is terrible but there is nothing we can do about it. the court washed their hands of it. it was a distressing retreat from their responsibility in some ways. but it was their way of saying this is up to the higher power in this country which is the people. so the people passed the constitutional amendments. there were constitutional amendments five times explicitly expanding the right to vote. the people made the fight
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through elections. i don't know if we expect the court, if there is a new supreme court justice, it isn't we want that justice to be aggressively charging in and undoing and remaking the landscape. what we mostly want is for that court to stay out of the way when the democratically accountable branches pass something like the voting rights act or the campaign finance laws. i think this supreme court nomination and the election that surrounds it is going to be a teachable moment, to use a cliche, where this has been debated like it hasn't in a long time. ask sg
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>> i am going to invite the audience to step up to the mike and ask questions. i will ask one more question but start making your way in line. michael, you talked about the poplar support that was needed to pass the constitutional amendment ending the poll tax. but since then, the poll tax has been interpretated and many laws thought to be found like poll taxes haven't been given credence. do you have reaction to that? >> there is an interesting story about that amendment and what happened since. the constitutional amendment to
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end the poll tax wasn't supported by the naacp. they said we don't need to pass an amendment. this could be done by statute. it was a white supremecist senator who passed it. but it courts haven't taken the financial burden and extended it to the places it ought to be. in the case in texas, challenging the voter id law the brennan case has been helping, the lead witness was a woman named sammy louis baits. she was born in mississippi and remembered vividly in counting out the poll tax for her mom.
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she moved to detroit, went to college, worked her whole life, retired and moved to texas and lives on social security now. two hours after the supreme court said the voting rights act and core protections were no longer needed, the law was implemented, and 608,000 voters on the books in texas were suddenly no longer able to vote. she was one of them. she gave testimony and was asked why didn't you just get your birth certificate? why didn't you deal with mississippi and get your birth certificate? she lived on social security and said i had to put $42 where that would do the most good and you can n cannot eat a birth certificate and it was very effective. the judge ruled it was a poll
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tax and although the higher courts upheld it. this issue of wealth and the in eequality of a market based economy we saw but it can not be entangled and i would not expect the court to ever be the ones to solve it for us. >> gentlemen right there. >> yes, my name is joseph hayden. i was partners with the brennan centers among many other civil rights organizations. i had filled a class-action lawsuit in the year 2000 challenging new york state's
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disenfranchi disenfranchisement laws. hayden versus kentucky was the name of the case. as a result of research done by, you know, a group of men in prison, we discovered that two states had, i mean four states, at the time had detained prisoners right to vote and that was maine, massachusetts, vermont, and utah. presently there is only two states left; maine and vermont. anyhow, we challenged nelly disenfranchisement on the grounds it was discrimination because of the demographics of the population of the prison population in america. so essentially what they were doing was taking away voting
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power from communities of poor people of color because those was where the majority of prisoners came from. all right. so before this, and it went to the second circuit court of appeals, and ten judges split down the middle, 5-5, and that was the end of that initiative there. what i want to know is, you know, prisoners are citizens. they don't lose their citizenship while they are in prison. prisoners in maine and vermont have the right to vote even though they commit the same crimes as people in the other 48
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states. how, you know, does america maintain this sense of exceptional champions of democracy continue to get away with stripping people of their right to vote? >> thank you for what you did and your determination over the years and thank you for your question. this issue of felony disenfranchisement is one of the long running and sorry story in american history. but there is one, like so many other areas, unexpected room for optimism and hope. my colleague is deeply involved in this and i encourage you to
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join in on the conversation. there are 2.5 million people -- >> who are living and working in the community and can't vote because they committed a crime in the past. >> this is at a time when there is a wide awareness the criminate justice system has expanded beyond where it should be. we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prison population. there has been a great deal of progress, not on voting by people who are currently incarcerated, but people who are back in the community. interestingly, it has not been in the courts, which has not been friendly to these cases. but within the evangelical community and conservatives work with voting right advocates and
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among the members of congress most outspoken on this is rand paul, the republican senator from kentucky. there are now two states where you still have a life-time ban on voting -- three -- but the most significant florida. >> one of the things that i'm really proud of that the brennan center was able to do is two weeks ago we won a victory in maryland where we drafted legislation, the folks on the ground got it through, the governor vetoed it and we overroad the veto. so starting for the maryland primary, 40,000 people who have criminal convictions in their past can vote. this is a long fight but it is a winable fight.
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it as a fight that if we continue to be smart and strategic about where we make the case and where we make the claim we are going to be able to bring other people along. i have a map of where i want to go next and i happen hoping people will help. >> i am jim ding from pacific radio and i have two quick questions. the voting turnout since 1960 has declined in general throughout the united states. aside from the issues you have raised and it is great to hear someone who is more optimistic than people i am around talking about this there is a great cynicism and it is showing by those supporting trump and sanders. i wonder what your thought about that it. and secondly you named 16 states where the laws of dissen
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phraschisement are effective or not effective or in motion. how do you see them playing out in this election? -- dissen -- disenfranchisement. >> we don't know how these laws will dampen turnout. a lot of things affect turnout. who the candidate is and everything else. having said that, there is evidence they do dampen turnout. the government accountability office, the highly respected non-partisan think tank used by both parties, looked at the strictest voter id laws and found they do suppress turnout but especially in the minority community. there are other studies recently suggesting a bigger impact. i just hope they will not have a depressive affect on turnout
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this time. the big question is why do so few americans vote? it isn't only since 1960 turnout is low. turnout has been low and bumped along low levels with rare exceptions since the beginning of the 20th-century. it is partly a result of laws and rules but also a result of political culture. one thing that surprised me as i read the history and wrote the book was the degree to which turnout was so high in the 19th century at a time of great party mobilization. the political parties were engines of participation and engines of turnout. there was a lot of fraud but that wasn't the reason the numbers were so high. if we could find a way to ene
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energize and engage people that would boost turnout. we have the districts that sort people into the like-minded areas so a lot of people there is not going to be competition no matter what you do. and the jerry manning on top of it. and we have a two-party system in the united states. if we have in europe there would be the trump party, the rubio party, and the clinton party and the sanders party. the low turnout wasn't last week and even just 1960. it has been going on for a long time. and we have to take responsibility ourselves we americans and take advantage of
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the rights we have. >> i am sarah brown and a long-time fan of the center's work. thank you both. my question is going back to optimism and what you spoke about with regards to expanding voter registration and the developments we have seen in oregon and california. specifically, i will really interested in what strategies led to those changes. was it grassroots groups applying pressure against existing power? was it electoral change and political leadership shifts or a litigation strategy? and do you thing those strategies are replicable in other states? >> it was enlightened leadership from public officials and grassroots groups. in oregon, a member of the state
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legislature there became secretary of state and through some rather scandals found herself governor and pushed this through. but there was a tremendous coalition in oregon. in california, the coalition was pushing this and the secretary of state, alexander tip, took the lead. there was a moment which was perhaps a bit of a surprise for those old enough to remember it where it wasn't clear if governor jerry brown would sign the law. we had confidence he would because there was a video tape of him at the democratic convention in 1992 demanding this xth law and decrying anyone who stood in its way. it is this push and pull throughout history. it isn't only the marchers.
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it is the people but often party insiders or elected officials whose sense of what they want to do lines up with the public interest. i think that is what you will see on this across the country. >> when you mentioned the challenges was energizing the electorate to vote no one mentions reinstuting civics in education. i think that would help. but one question i have is where is the federal government dropping the ball in terms of subsidizing those so we can solve this. >> here here i will say. the brennan study did a great study on this and that is
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available on our website. especially in a changing country i don't know how we can expect to have a coherent social ethos and workable democracy if we don't teach each generation what the history is and ideals are. civics in school has dropped off the curriculum and been pushed out and there is a tremendous loss in this very issue of fighting for the right to vote and fighting for justice. when you think about going back to that very beginning of the american creed which was obviously not actually how people lived in 1776 but it was the idea that people returned over and over and the abolitionist returned to it, par phrased in the progressive era and every since and people are
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saying we are trying to live up to the founding ideals of the country. when dr. king at the march on washington said this country will rise up and live out the creed of all men will be treated equal everyone knew what he was talking about and i don't know that maerpsual know that. there is an understandable and justifiable skepticism about the past and burdens but we will lose something powerful and positive if we lose that common sense. i agree with you completely and the federal government of course is at the state level and every time the federal government is involved there is unexpected backlashes so i don't know i know the answer for that. >> we have time for one last question. >> you make a good candidate for
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scalia's replacement. i have done poll working in new jersey and we found every out in 15 minutes. i feel like concerned areas of the country minorities are being dissenfranchised dealing with the wait times. >> there is a recognition that not everybody has to wait in long lines. so much of what is wrong with the elections is as much a function of ramshackle elections than anything else. a lot of states improved matters by moving to early voting or other steps that are customer service in a sense. in a place like ohio where there was nearly a florida style debacle that up ended the election of 2004. they expanded early voting and
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there has been a political fight over it but it is quite effective. it varies from place to place. it is the case that in minority neighbored and neighborhoods of color the lines are longer through under investment. there is a presidential commission on elections that barack obama appointed and it was chaired by mitt romney's lawyer and his own counsel bob bower who teaches near at nyu. they agreed to modernize voter registration and agreed there should be a standard on how long you have to wait in line. we are one country. we ought to have people voting with an equal and effective voice no matter where they live. this is a matter of will and investment. there is no magical technology though will mention one tech
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technological thing to make you more nervous. after florida, congress passed a law requires states to move to eelectroning voting. it was controversial because people were worried about privacy but that is not a concern anymore. the bad news is the computers are 15 years old. they use zip drives. they are all on the verge of breaking. and in 43 states the voting machines electronic computerized voting machines are ten years or older. so there is a need for massive new investment in voter technology along the country or you will have these lines. that creates opportunities to integrate that with electronic registration and other sorts of


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